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IUP Completes Probe Into Professor’s Alleged Homophobic Comments

Christina Santiago, a graduate student, says the comments were made by a professor teaching a business class. (Credit: KDKA)

Christina Santiago, a graduate student, says the comments were made by a professor teaching a business class. (Credit: KDKA)

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INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) — IUP says its investigation into anti-gay remarks allegedly made by a business professor is over.

The school released a statement: “The university has completed its investigation of this incident and, having heard from all of the people with direct witness to the event, has taken action consistent with the findings of the investigation.”

IUP says because of personnel policy, it can’t reveal what action it took.

“I am not satisfied,” said IUP graduate student Christina Santiago, who says the professor called her and other gay people disgusting and unnatural.

She also claims Maalie Ashamalla, Ph.D., went on with other anti-gay remarks that left her on the verge of tears.

Santiago wants the school to spell out what action was taken.

KDKA has learned that Ashamalla is still teaching and she described herself on the phone as a highly professional woman.

But Ashamalla says the matter is not over, and when it is she will decide whether to make a comment.

Santiago says she is unsure the school has done enough to keep it from happening again, since the school has had to deal with the issue before, according former IUP student Michael Heller.

Heller has come forward to say he was in a class when Ashamalla made similar comments five years ago. He says he complained to the school at the time and was heartbroken to hear Santiago making a similar complaint now.

Heller, like Santiago, wants details of what action the university has now taken. “They’re not protecting students from bullying,” said Heller.

In the school statment, IUP says this incident reflects the challenges universities face in protecting free speech but also protecting students’ rights to a safe environment.

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